How to Convert DVD Files to ISO for Free
What Is an ISO File?
An ISO file is a single file that represents all the files on a DVD. Think of it as an image of a CD or DVD. The data on a DVD can be duplicated into one single ISO file. It's a type of archive file similar to a .zip file.
Recently I got a new laptop that didn't have a built in DVD drive, something that's no longer uncommon. However, I had a couple of DVDs I run often and didn't want to have to go through the hassle of running them in a DVD player connected to the TV. I wanted to find a way to play them on my laptop and thankfully there's a very easy way to do that.
I was able to convert the Video_TS and Audio_TS files on each DVD to ISO files that can be played on a laptop. It's easy to do but requires two downloadable software programs. One to create the ISO image and the other to run it. Both are free. To start, right click on your DVD drive and choose Open in New Window. You'll see the Video_TS and Audio_TS folders. I recommend copying them to a temporary folder on your Desktop to make conversion faster.
The first thing you need is ImgBurn from imgburn.com to convert the DVD files to ISO format (ImgBurn cannot convert DVDs that are copy protected like movies).
What Is Conduit Search?
Conduit search is a search engine that will hijack all browsers installed on your computer. It adds the Conduit Toolbar, changes your browser homepage search engine to search.conduit.com. If you attempt to change to your preferred search engine, it will undo that change the next time you open your browser. It can be removed but it's a tricky process. Be very careful when installing ImgBurn, which is an otherwise excellent software program.
BE WARNED: ImgBurn will attempt to install two programs called Conduit and Purelead. During the installation process, you will be given the option to choose Express (Recommended) or Custom Installation twice. Make sure you choose Custom Installation and uncheck Conduit and Purelead. Conduit will hijack your browsers and is annoying to remove. So, be very careful.
Open ImgBurn and choose Create image file from files/folders.
You can either Browse to find the folder that contains the Audio_TS and Video_TS or just drag them into the large text box under Source.
Now choose a Destination folder and click Build and follow any directions that come afterwards to create the ISO file.
How to Play Your ISO File?
After you've created the ISO file, you'll need a way to run it. VLC Media Player from videolan.org is a free media player that can play ISO files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, and VCDs.
"VLC is a free and open source cross-platform multimedia player and framework that plays most multimedia files as well as DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols."
VLC Media Player is developed by volunteers. It's a not-for-profit, open-source software. They do accept donations if you find the software helpful and want to contribute. I've never had trouble downloading this software. They don't install any unwanted programs that I'm aware of.
This software is very easy to use. Look for Media in the menu. The go to Open File and browse until you find the ISO file. That's all there is to it.